Progress in medical technologies comes from the brightest minds in the field. Every year a new generation of medical students take the first steps into their careers, and some of those students will go on to be innovators in their field. The ability for these fresh minds to enter the field and use their knowledge and desire to help people is improved when they are given the support they need from the ones who came before them. Cardiologist Dr. Simon H. Stertzer, MD is one of these experienced physician scientists who is supporting these minds who will revolutionize the future of medicine. In this article we will be looking at the importance of the philanthropic efforts of Dr. Stertzer and his peers, as well as taking a direct look at some of those endeavors.
Why Do Medical Students Need Support From Physician Scientists?
In the year 2020, United States first year medical school admissions reached 22,239. It is a competitive field, and for a percentage of these students they are looking forward to a career of innovation. These future physician scientists wish to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in the field and make everyone’s life better by developing new technologies. To achieve these goals they need to have access to a higher level of education and training, as well as the tools to facilitate the development of new ideas.
Unfortunately, many of the brightest minds who are seeking to succeed in this field do not have access to the finances to attend these institutions on their own. While many institutions offer scholarships to exceptional students, students wanting to reach the highest levels will likely still need to find other sources of scholarships and funding. This is one place where the philanthropy of successful and distinguished physician scientists like Dr. Stertzer comes into play. By establishing scholarships and professorships, they ensure that students are able to achieve their dreams.
This support also comes in the form of mentorships, where Dr. Stertzer and other physician scientists can lend their direct experience to up and coming innovators. Designing a medical device is a difficult process, and having access to those who have tread those paths will help students and trainees to avoid the pitfalls their predecessors may have faced.
By means such as mentorships and the funding of endowed professorships, as well as supporting various programs, Dr. Stertzer and his peers can provide tomorrow’s scientific leaders with the knowledge and training that will prepare them for being able to bring their ideas from concept to medical reality.
What Are Some of Dr. Simon Stertzer’s Contributions And How Do They Help?
Dr. Stertzer has been as dedicated to supporting tomorrow’s scientific minds as he has to his own innovative work. As a groundbreaking cardiac surgeon, inventor, and entrepreneur; he has been down the road that these upcoming scientists and physicians are just starting down. Thus, he has contributed in a wide variety of ways to the future of discovery in medical science. Let’s take a look at a few of these in particular.
1. Endowed Professorships –
Endowed Professorships are a professorship or chair that is paid for permanently from an endowment fund. These positions hold a place of honor in the academic community and are used to reward or recruit top faculty. The endowment pays for the salary of the holder of the professorship, as well as student assistants and research funding.
At Stanford University, where Dr. Stertzer is Professor Emeritus, he has three endowed professorships that are in his name in perpetuity. These endowed professorships include the Interventional Cardiology Professor of the School of Medicine, Director of the Cardiovascular Institute at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Chief of Cardiology. The latter professorship was established in December of 2020, and the first one in 1998. That is 22 years of an expanding endowment that helps ensure that the best of the best are seated in these positions where they will influence all who come under their purview.
2. Academic Fellowships –
Academic Fellowships are similar to a scholarship for graduate students, and in many cases also include a stipend for them to live on as they continue their studies. These Fellowships are usually incredibly competitive and are usually given to those who will be pursuing research at the university.
Dr. Stertzer has funded fellowships through his career including for the Stanford Biodesign Program. These fellowships have ensured that graduate students and faculty who are committed to research and innovation are able to pursue their passion at the highest possible levels.
3. Scholarships –
Scholarships are one of the most common forms of funding for students who need financial assistance. These are awarded to exceptional students and applicants who meet specific requirements from the funding body or school. They are a form of educational funding that never needs to be paid back, unlike a loan. They are similar to a grant, though grants are usually given based on financial need and scholarships are usually based on merit.
Dr. Stertzer has a scholarship fund established at NYU Langone. This fund provides New York University medical students with assistance for their tuitions, and has already given back more than three times the amount of the medical education he received there 60 years ago. With his fund’s help, many amazing NYU medical students are able to receive a top notch education and go on to serve their communities.
4. Mentorship –
While much can be learned in the classroom, the lab, or in a clinical setting; having someone who has experience guiding you is a valuable resource. Mentors are able to teach in ways that a typical class experience can not, passing on wisdom and advice in specific and direct ways. This is especially helpful for researchers, inventors, and other innovators in the medical field. The guidance a mentor can provide when dealing with the more business focused aspects of the process, or even during development of a potential invention, will help the mentee to face any possible problems with someone who has already done so at their side.
Dr. Simon Stertzer has served as a mentor to many of these up and coming physician scientists. Of particular note, as a mentor for the Stanford Biodesign Program he was able to provide insight into the process of invention and bringing a product to market to his mentees. He was able to pass down his experience as an entrepreneur, inventor, and cardiologist to these minds who were hungry for knowledge they can put to use to improve all of our lives.
5. Educator –
While not strictly a philanthropic contribution, Dr. Simon Stertzer has a long history as an educator. He was recruited in 1993 to be Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, a role he served in until his recent Professor Emeritus status. As an educator he was able to put his knowledge and experience to work as he taught his students. When it comes to being able to support the physician scientists of the future, taking part in the process of educating them should not be overlooked in its ability to influence.
Other Efforts –
Dr. Stertzer has also provided assistance and funding in other ways. One of which is funding of the Physicians Assistant Program at Stanford University School of Medicine. This is a world class program to help train Physician Assistants that are needed nationwide.
With all of these contributions, Dr. Stertzer shows us the gamut of possibilities of how successful physician scientists can support the next generation of innovative minds. He truly believes in the importance of supporting those who will be bringing us tomorrow’s revolutionary healthcare technologies, and puts his money and actions where his mouth is.
Dr. Simon Stertzer holds the philosophy that “It is essential that success in the commercial application of scientific advances be accompanied by philanthropic assistance to the education and support of future researchers.” From this philosophy we see the actions he has taken to ensure that the minds that will be building our medical future are nourished so they can properly grow and flourish. From funding programs, scholarships, fellowships, and endowed professorships to actually educating and mentoring them; he has shown a commitment to helping the best to be their best.
These efforts are just a sample from one man’s oeuvre, but give us an idea of the types of support that physician scientists can give to the next generation. The important thing is that they are supported, in whatever form possible, in order to make sure that we can all benefit from the ideas and inventions they will bring to the world.
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